hirez: (Armalite rifle)
One of the things that I'm doing at work is hacking on our VM-build rig so that is it less terrible to use. [1] Coincidentally, there's some network-fondling going on that will make it 'trivial'(tm) to do IPv6 on the servers. So I have this medium-sized chain of VMs and config running on the Xen cluster in the basement and fucking hell has it been a right old laugh to make any of it work, hoo boy let me tell you.

So in order, from a notional left where the will to build a new virtual machine that will do Server! Things! resides in a representative Carbon Unit, to the far right hand side of the process where there is a Server! Doing Things! this is what we find.

Generating VMs using the Xen API is... Not actively unpleasant. It is a mild inconvenience that all the Xen docco assumes that you're using Python. (Is there a Config Management tool based around Python? I mean, there probably is. Fabric?) However, it's just an API and the Ruby wrapper insulates one from the worst of the XMLRPC hatefulness.

However. Generating a VM is only about 10% of the job. After that you must get the thing to boot enough of an OS to install something, and fairly obviously automate that install completely so your interaction with the process is some command-line fun followed a mug of tea later by the monitoring system telling you your new box is live. Beardian have a thing they call 'preseeding', which is more or less scripting the sequence of install menus that you get on every Beard-derived distro. No I do not wish to take part in the popularity contest. I don't know anyone who does.

We had a working preseed rig, but it was generated from the Squeeze docs, massaged for Wheezy and mostly broke for Jessie. Along with the Xen heads and a set of other customs and practices that were only there because they were there.

I like throwing code away it is great.

The IPv6 bits for preseeding are, er, entirely undocumented. Thus I spent about a week, in between rebuilding obsolete Xen servers, discovering that though the manuals allege that DHCPv6 is supported, it doesn't work in any useful sort of way.

For instance. When you configure a Beardian box to do DHCPv4, you'll find a line in its network config that looks like this: 'iface eth0 inet dhcp'. If you copy that and append '6' to the 'inet' bit, then it will allegedly do DHCPv6 as well and you will get a dual-stacked interface. Only not, because the preseed doc is entirely lacking details of the knob you twiddle to enable DHCPv6 such that the installer will write that 'inet6' bit into the network config.

DHCPv4 is a fairly ancient protocol that is mostly filled with things the designers thought would be jolly useful at the time. Like this: 'The Impress server option specifies a list of Imagen Impress servers available to the client.' There are probably others for specifying the size and shape of the horseless carriage that will be required to route the packets should the primary link fail. The original plan (from what I remember) for IPv6 was that you wouldn't need any of that sort of rubbish. You'd tell the routers what the first half of the IPv6 allocation was, and the machines connected to same would use their MAC address as the bottom half. Sorted!

Yeah, so about that notion of machines just turning up at random points in an IP allocation larger than the observable universe. How are you going to manage that, and given that most people can't even be arsed typing 'www.facebook.com' into a browser, how d'you think typing 'https://2001:0470:1f15:0fa1:76d4:35ff:fef1:4acd' is going to work for you?

Thus DHCPv6 and some bit-twiddling. Given you've already had to set up Router Advertisment to tell your machines what the first half of their IPv6 allocation looks like, you might as well also use that to advertise the fact that this netblock is Managed. Yes, you set the 'M' bit and all the good children will start emitting DHCPv6 queries.

Which is obviously not mentioned in the preseed documentation because, well, why would you even need to know that was a thing? If you were doing a proper v6 rollout you'd have the network infrastructure already working and you wouldn't need to spend half a day working out what code did the network config, finding same on a Beardian archive server and then tracing through someone else's wonky C to find the one line that makes you think dark thoughts before going out for quite a long walk to calm down again.

Of course it's entirely irrelevant because even when you do get RAs working with the M bit, nothing will write the 'inet6' bit into the network config.

Meanwhile. A thing you can do with a small subset of server daemons is have them update the DNS when a new machine pitches up. Ordinarily you would never ever do this inside a server netblock ever because that way lies madness. However, doing reverse DNS for v6 involves an awful lot of typing. If you are a bit hazy on how DNS works, it's an awful lot of typing, followed by a bunch of cargo-culted procedures, kicking the DNS server twice and then going 'Oh you'll have to wait 24 hours for it to propagate'

If anyone says that to you about the DNS, they have no idea what they're talking about and you should ask to speak to a grownup without delay.

Thus having some computers to manage all of that would probably be a really good idea. After all, the dynamic DNS standard has been about for a while. About a decade ago, when I was still at Labs, I ended up running the DHCP rig there. I became very familiar with the contents of Droms & Lemon, which was (is?) The Book About DHCP. Back then, the standard servers were either Windows DHCP or ISC ditto. In the docs for ISC-DHCP, it mentioned that the DDNS update style in use was 'interim' because the standard had not been ratified when they were writing that code. Since the BOOTP servers at Labs had only just been turned off, DDNS was viewed with a deal of suspicion since these modern protocols were everywhere and would probably amount to nothing and do you have an up-to-date copy of the hosts table?

I was digging through the doc for the latest version of ISC-DHCP at the beginning of the week. In there I found the DDNS section, where it mentioned that new rollouts should use the 'standard' style. It was nice to know that there was now a proper standard RFC way of doing DDNS. Hurrah for a decade of progress!

It didn't work. I had a look at the client config on one of the Jessie nodes I was using. 'interim' style. Well, that was a bit tiresome. Still, it's just a config change and it is a new standard and everything.

i) Beardian hard codes the DHCP client config into the 'ifup' command.
ii) I went and looked at the date on the DDNS RFC. Nineteen ninety fucking seven.

I am fact coming to the conclusion that no-one's really tried any of this yet. Or, if they have, they've facebooked it and written the entire stack themselves in a fit of pique.[1]

[1] There's an Internet Law (or probably a devops/automation law) that goes along the lines of 'All private cloud automation attempts will tend toward replicating Heroku, only badly'. So we carefully bear that in mind, should the mood to turn it up to eleven strike.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
[ This was inspired by a report on the Facebooks. Rather than make someone else's grim time All About Me and my Manfeels, I shall perform my tangenteering here. ]

I am becoming really quite narked with the obvious inability of, oh, pretty much all[1] the 'men'[2] in IT to act like fucking adults.

Perhaps it's just me and my terrible Guardian-reading ways, but there's a process in the back of my head that runs most of the time[3] and spends its time going 'Is what you are about to say going to sound creepy/racist/ableist/patronising/sexist? Because if it is think of some other way of expressing yourself. You're a fucking writer for fuck's sake. You're good enough to get paid cash-money for making the language work in positive and interesting ways. And. You actually like the people you work with and you do not wish them to regard you as some lurching troglodyte quasi-human (or 'generic man in IT') but as someone with dreams and fears of their own.'

Perhaps it is just me.

A couple of years ago, I spent a morning in the company of a handful of late-teen and early twentysomething males. They all knew each other and were quite happy to ignore the weird old post-punk and jabber amongst themselves. It was pretty horrible. Fucken this and fucken that and fuck that bird over there with knockers i'd give 'er a portion out down the bierkeller last week doing shots some dirty slapper you could see her bra an' everything puke my fucken ring...

... And I don't recall what I was like at that age. I'd like to think not as bad, but y'know...


I dunno. It's pish. I hate it. Do better you horrible little gobshites.

(Last time I wrote something like this I was variously accused of White Knighting and only doing it to cop off with feminist birds.)

[1] #notalltehmenz. #eyeroll.
[2] Fucking assume good-faith fucking definitions here, ok? We all know who the problem-space is.
[3] Because I am human and I fuck up or am tired[4] or something so egregiously batshit is going on that I get lost in the moment[4].
[4] Far too much of that going on right now.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
A cow-orker (gamer, female) was gleefully pointing out the latest Moral Outrage earlier.

Apparently, in whichever GTA version is making the most money now (he said, clearly able to look on the internet for the version, but writing it that way for fogey value) - and this would be GTA the open-world game where I understand you can wander about and do pretty much what you want. Because that's the nature of open-world games, being able to do what you want. Anyway. In this open-world game, which doesn't place much in the way of restriction upon your actions, you can go beat up a prostitute. If you've a mind to do that sort of thing.

The person (or people) who went and ignored sunsets, mountains, fast cars, tractors, pylons and leaping out of presumably serviceable virtual aircraft; and instead were all like 'Hey, I can do anything I want in this virtual world! I know! I'll go and beat up a sex-worker!' were allegedly horrified that they were able to do this and I guess went and did the modern version of penance or writing a stiff letter to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen, which is to go on Twitter and blame someone else. For the thing they did. Themselves. With free will and malice aforethought.

The horrible, horrible bastards.

This is what happens when authoritarians are allowed out of their boxes.

Obviously in this terrible meat-hook (although this would be free-range barn-reared organic meat and an artisanal hook make by a blacksmith called Tarquin using carbon-neutral fuel and a salvaged anvil) future where Brunner's 'Shockwave Rider' is a shit old skiffy book filled with nonsense and lies, one could quite easily see some Polis-sponsored 'down' 'loadable' 'content' that allows the game to grass you up to the Social if you do assault a sex-worker.

And quite right too. Can't be too careful.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
If you repeat a phrase enough it becomes meaningless, and then tiresome.

'We take [blah] very seriously' for instance.

Today I had to follow a pie-van (which I guess warrants either jabbering about the Pi-man which isn't going to happen because I only had a Spectrum for a fortnight and it was shit, or about following a muffin-man down Drury lane, but that's all a bit 'Round the Horne' and anyway it was the A431) which meant I was able to read the alleged humorous messages on the back of the thing as it trundled past Bitton railway.

One of them contained the phrase 'deep fill' and even having to type that as an example fills me with a remarkable antipathy for the entire edifice of marketing.

I would go back in time to persuade Edward Bernays that he should seek an alternative career, but then Adam Curtis would have never made 'The century of the self' and I'd rather have that and something to chunter about, pointlessly angry freak that I seem to be.

Anyway. 'Deep fill' doesn't mean anything. Or rather, it means 'Look! We are no longer taking the piss!'

Years ago, when food made from chemicals was a rare treat, I was occasionally allowed to watch commercial television. (Since the parents only took the Radio Times, ITV was an unknowable wasteland. My grandfather would sometimes buy the local paper on a Saturday and then use that as a telly-guide for the next six months. Which was confusing on several levels because due to geography his set-top aerial would pick up HTV West rather than ATV. Thus one would be treated to black and white pictures of Judas Priest followed by the local news for somewhere else in Welsh.)

One of the adverts that was especially interesting for the junior JHR was the one showing a Kipling Machine hawking up lumps of Apple Byproduct and gobbing them into empty individual pie-casings where they hid in the bottom corner like agoraphobic slime. For a child brought up on home-cooked everything, these were pictures from another planet and likely proof of space travel.

Were I in a more charitable mood, I would believe that the robot-brain behind the notion of 'deep fill' was somehow trying to make up for the childhood disappointment caused by the essential hatefulness of Kipling Machinery, but since the entire edifice has been run by complete bastards more interested in what they can get away with rather than providing any sort of value or service, it's just another reason to dismantle the system that we are forced to call capitalism.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
Today I am really quite sleep-deprived after being woken at zero-dark by $website (and indeed $other-website) expiring on Sunday and Monday. I suspect there's an upper age limit on being able to perform on-call stuff like that without wanting to find those responsible for the failure and administer a shoeing.

On the other hand, will Wiggo regain the red jersey?
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
I'm sure you're feeling jolly pleased with yourselves for discovering this exciting new thing where you can play Jolly Tricks on someone who's left a logged-in session open on one or other 'social networking' site. (nb: sarcasm)

However, calling it 'frape' or 'facebook rape' is, as I'm sure has been pointed out, a bit shit.

One thing is the result of carelessness, alcohol, not being aware of one's surroundings or trusting people who may or may not have your best interests at heart, but is pretty much your own damn fault. The other one, really really not.

The existing term is 'coat-tailing'. You horrible little bastards.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Dear twatty-boy in the Frenchay hospital bus. No doubt you consider yourself above moral reproach because you are doing 'good works' and criticising NHS workers is akin to booting baskets of kittens into acid-filled industrial canals. However, the next time you come past me with a foot to spare, I'm going to climb in the bloody passenger door and wallop you one with my U-lock. Unless you're trying to drum up trade, of course. In which case - no sale.


I finally got around to watching the Factory documentary on BBC-4 (Are they really mithering on about shuttering that channel? Bastards if so. It's the only thing worth watching regularly) and bloody hell it was good. I imagine it's just me being a tiresome Peelite, but there was always the feeling that Factory was 'ours' and everyone else could fook off.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Does anyone really, truly believe this is news?

If you do, I suggest the following:

Pelting about the place with handfuls of sharp objects may prove unfortunate in the short term.

If it's raining, you may want to consider donning waterproof clothing before venturing outside.

If your chest hurts and you are tired, try relaxing the muscles in that area. Remember: breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

I mean, ever since hard drives have been going wrong, there have been technicians making them work again and then having a quick grovel across the surfaces for anything useful, entertaining or incriminating.
hirez: (Default)

For fuck's sake.

Bring back Gabrielle Drake in a purple wig, please.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Um. You know what's, um, wrong with, um, you know, podcasting? Lack of professionalism. Broadcasters may only be the lackey-mouthpieces of the ruling elite, but they're trained to, um, like, construct, um, you know, sentences.

If this is the state of the average Guardian 'podcast' then they really need to stick to the duck-squeezing and hand-wringing.

Anyway. Rob Newman's History of Oil. Wow. It didn't tell me anything surprising, since I'm already an anarchist sympathiser who'd read up on the move to trading oil in Euros. (Hell, I live in Europe. If America goes tits-up, we can throw a fence round the place to keep the inmates from escaping and film reality-TV from armoured cars driven by blue-helmeted Canadians.)

Mind, that Bliar chappie should really be chased from office by a howling mob waving torches and pitchforks, if only for form's sake.

It comes only subjective minutes after reading this fine thing about the utter futility of the current 'space program'. I have to admit that I harboured some ill-will towards Mr. Cegłowski for coming up with LOAF (Oh, my aching sides), but it's impossible to dislike someone that talented. Believe me, I've tried.

I think we were sold this entire hand-wave of a future by the hard SF mob. It seemed to go:

a) Put men on the moon.
b) Some orbital things.
c) Profit!

And somewhere in the middle of that all the problems with gummint-sponsored projects (massive cost overruns, management [in the pejorative sense. As if there were any other], mission creep, brownian goalposts, etc) or private sector ditto (much the same, but with a corporate re-branding) would vanish in a flash of cheery boilersuited proles singing company songs.

What a pile of bollocks.
hirez: (irradiated)
Last night I looked at Usenet for the first time in years.

Today I'm arguing the toss over RFC-compliance with Gradwell's support-chaps.

Tomorrow I may well consider that engaging with the likes of varizio might be a good idea.

Usenet-fuckwittery is contagious and turns a fellow into the tedious sort of bastard he hates most.

Port 119 must be cleansed with FIRE.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
You know, there's enough bright people hereabouts to knock together some stand-up...

In fact - LJ would be much more fun if instead of 'talk like a pirate day' (Oh do piss off) there was 'post as if possessed by the uneasy spirit of Bill Hicks day'.

(February 26)
hirez: (peeved)

In further unfortunate 'comedy', I was recently given to understand that Bob Monkhouse turned up at a HP bash and told a procession of sexist jokes before the righteous anger from the followers of Bill & Dave forced him off stage.

And that bastard Carr did a gig at Another.com. Good job we'd been on the free lager. He was shit.


hirez: (Default)

August 2017

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